Night of the Demons

 

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Night Of The Demons

Poster by Flora Whitely

Text by Scott Anton Svatos

 

Demons. Nasty creatures. Much worse than cockroaches, which always makes it surprising when people invite them into their lives.In Night of the Demons, this invitation comes

in the form of a séance conducted by horny teenagers partying in an abandoned mortuary standing on haunted soil on Halloween Night. If demons really were roaches, this would

be like dumping a bag of garbage on the kitchen floor.

 

Demons, as they are portrayedin cinema in movies like the Evil Dead and the Exorcist, tend to do a number on the bodies they possess, and the demons in this film are no

exception. Night of the Demons delights in depicting the transformation of its good-looking teens into minions of darkness straight out of a Ronnie James Dio video. What makes Night of the Demons different is how it links this transformation with the sexual behavior and moral makeup of its characters.It’s no coincidence that the first character to become possessed, Suzanne, is also the film’s most overtly sexualized.

She dresses provocatively, flashes her ass while shoplifting, and scams on another

girl’s boyfriend. The demon enters her body through her open mouth and gets acquainted

with her flesh during the movie’s famous “lipstick scene.” Later, when the demon takes control of new hosts, it does not abandon Suzanne to enter a new body, but rather spreads like a sexually transmitted disease – vectoring from teen to teen via kisses, bites, and all manner of bloodletting.It’s debatable whether Susan is being punished

for her loose attitude towards sex, or if sex is merely the transfer medium for demons.

In either case, sexual promiscuity is only one component of a more general character type that seems rife for evil spirits -- most of the characters who become possessed are not just promiscuous, they’re assholes. Even before hosting demons, these characters hammer each other with insults (“Eat a bowl of fuck!”) and seek to best one another in various power games.

 

When punk Stooge breaks down in his car on the way to the party, fellow partygoers

have nothing to offer him but mock applause and the dust from their spinning wheels.

The sexual encounters leading up the demonic onslaught are likewise loveless: Jay gets dissed by Judy so he screws Suzanne instead; Sal drops his obsession with Judy to ogle Angela’s semi-nude dancing; Stooge brags about his conquest of Suzanne before it has even occurred and wonders why he can’t hang out in the toilet with her while she’s using it. When demons take possession of these characters, they don’t wreak havoc upon the innocent like the Pazuzu-on-Regan action in the Exorcist, they inflate the teens already-budding cruelty into something murderous. Only the most traditionally moral (or perhaps more accurately, the most prude and paranoid) have a chance of escaping demonic wrath. Out of the initial bevy of douche bags, only Sal undergoes a true role reversal, converting from bully to hero and thereby symbolically exorcising his inner demon before finally succumbing to forces beyond his control.Ultimately, the audience gets to play a bit of

the demon too. There is no love lost and plenty of fun to be had in seeing this crew

get wasted; the audience is invited to share the same pleasures as the demon:

undressing the characters, and then destroying them..